Beautiful but Mean Rooster: How do I Help my Hen?

New to Chick Life

In the Brooder
Jun 7, 2020
11
34
36
Georgia
20191215_132414.jpg
George and Aunty used to be best friends when we moved into our house and inherited them. Prior owners kept them in the coop behind them 24/7 because of their aggressive dog (whom had killed the prior flock).
After introducing our dogs to the chickens, we built a small fence around the door to let them walk around a bit, and to give them some protection from our dogs. We had a few close calls, but our dogs got used to them and after a lot of training, they've been free roaming our yard for a few months with no problem...until about a month ago.
Sadly, the problem isn't the dogs, it's George (the rooster)! One morning, as I went to open the coop, I found aunty with a bloody comb. Once my mom came home for lunch, we caught her and brought her in our house to help her destress and check her over.
We let her out again after 15ish minutes, and everything seemed to be fine, she just fell ranks. She was the last one in the coop, per George's orders. Before that, she was the second and sometimes first one in.
My mom noticed George chasing her away from the flock, but she was fiesty and confident and didn't care. Up until a few weeks later when I found her away from the flock, squawking. She looked as though she was traumatized, walking without going anywhere, making these weird noises, her feathers all fluffed and some falling out...I honestly thought she was dying or had gone crazy. I tried to bring her back to the flock, but any time she saw George she would freak out, screaming and running away.
After doing some light research, we decided to put George in "prison".
We made a new coop for the chickens since we moved in, and that's where they've been staying. So we used the old coop to keep George in there for a while. He hated it, and I felt so bad. I was also stressed out during this time as I have found gartner snakes in my yard, as well as bigger birds circling above the yard. George always kept them safe, but while he was on lockdown I did the job.
After a few days I caved and we tried to let him out. Right away, Aunty (the hen he enjoys tormenting) was scared again. She had gone back to her confident, sassy self while he was on lockdown but as soon as we let him out she hid. I saw George chase her, try to hold her down, and try to rip out feathers and stab her with his claws. He wasn't mounting, I see him do that a lot with his favorite hen, but he was trying to kill. She was screaming and trying to run away. We caught him and put him back in jail.
Cut to yesterday, we let him out. He is fine with our new chicks, he doesn't care about them whatsoever. I also haven't seen him chase or hurt Aunty, in fact, they were together all yesterday. But today? She refuses to come to me if he is around. That's not normal behavior from her, she knows her name and has come to me when I called her while George was in jail. She won't even eat the berries I throw near her if she can see him! And her favorite food is berries.
What can I do if killing George is not an option, and if he is needed to protect his flock? Is there a way to make Aunty confident again? She's not sick, she's just terrified of him. When he is in jail, she hangs out with the other hens. When he is out, the other hens are not allowed near her per George's order.
 

igorsMistress

Frank and Abbys mom.
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Apr 9, 2013
23,243
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George may need a longer prison sentence.

I do have a few questions though...is Aunty laying eggs? Any issues with her eggs like blood in them when you crack them open? Is Aunty resistant to his advances or does she crouch for him?
 

New to Chick Life

In the Brooder
Jun 7, 2020
11
34
36
Georgia
George may need a longer prison sentence.

I do have a few questions though...is Aunty laying eggs? Any issues with her eggs like blood in them when you crack them open? Is Aunty resistant to his advances or does she crouch for him?
None of our hens crouch for him. They're all the same age, and he learned that he can trick some into crouching by calling them for food. When they try to find the food is when he...mounts them. I'm just going to flat out say it: he rapes my hens.
Aunty was laying her eggs just fine, no blood in them, they're not more or less fragile as before, nothing has changed about her. She learned that if she gets up on certain objects, he can't mount her...but so has Nana, George's favorite hen.
She stopped laying for a bit after he full blown attacked her, but she's laying as we speak. I just checked on my chicks and she was in one of the egg-laying boxes. I saw dried blood on her comb, so it's official, he's attacking her again😥
I have to wait for my mom to catch him and put him back in prison, she gets off work in a few hours. Right now he treats me like he treats most of his other hens and he runs away from my mom because she's the one who usually catches him.
For future reference, is there a way to know when he has completed the full prison-sentence, or will we have to go by gut feeling and trial and error?
Thank you so much for replying, for someone who is new to chicken life this can be very stressful! I appreciate the help💛
 

igorsMistress

Frank and Abbys mom.
Premium Feather Member
8 Years
Apr 9, 2013
23,243
121,850
1,632
My Coop
My Coop
None of our hens crouch for him. They're all the same age, and he learned that he can trick some into crouching by calling them for food. When they try to find the food is when he...mounts them. I'm just going to flat out say it: he rapes my hens.
Aunty was laying her eggs just fine, no blood in them, they're not more or less fragile as before, nothing has changed about her. She learned that if she gets up on certain objects, he can't mount her...but so has Nana, George's favorite hen.
She stopped laying for a bit after he full blown attacked her, but she's laying as we speak. I just checked on my chicks and she was in one of the egg-laying boxes. I saw dried blood on her comb, so it's official, he's attacking her again😥
I have to wait for my mom to catch him and put him back in prison, she gets off work in a few hours. Right now he treats me like he treats most of his other hens and he runs away from my mom because she's the one who usually catches him.
For future reference, is there a way to know when he has completed the full prison-sentence, or will we have to go by gut feeling and trial and error?
Thank you so much for replying, for someone who is new to chicken life this can be very stressful! I appreciate the help💛
Roosters call the hens to treat and mount them, it's normal. However, I would put him back in jail and not take him out for a week to ten days and then see what happens. He's going to be upset but you have to be strong and not cave in.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
12 Years
Feb 2, 2009
27,517
20,802
907
Southeast Louisiana
Usually mature hens and roosters get along fine. Everybody knows their roles and the flock is peaceful. Usually. But sometimes a hen or rooster is just wired wrong. The instincts that make the flock peaceful don't work the way they are supposed to. If it makes you feel better consider it a mental illness.

For whatever reason that rooster has decided he does not want that hen anywhere around his flock. I don't know why. I don't know if the fault is in him or in her. I could come up with different possible reasons but I don't know. I don't now that it matters.

I believe in solving for the peace of the overall flock, not in favor of one chicken. You said he stays. I assume you also want her to stay. I see one solution. Build a separate facility so you can keep them separated. Put whatever other chickens with them as you wish. They can both have a good life if you keep hem apart. You can keep trying different things so they can stay together but I think there is a real chance you'll find her dead at some point.
 

One Lucky Momma

Chicken Kisser
Premium Feather Member
Apr 25, 2020
513
1,572
236
Madison Co, NC
Ohhhhh. This has to be hard and I am so sorry you’re going through it. I am very new to chickens myself and have absolutely no answers for you, but I’ll gladly share your pain.

Early on I had no idea the complexity of these birds’ psyche. They are deep! Somewhere on this site are some well researched articles on rooster behavior - why they do the things they do. You’d find it interesting. Taught me a lot. That said, your roo sounds a bit extreme. i understand you feel like you need his services, especially the protective part, but if I had to choose, George would be to one looking for a new home.
Good luck!
 

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